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Pacers look to pad series lead in Game 2 vs. Heat on TSN

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The Sports Network
5/20/2014 10:27:51 AM
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The Indiana Pacers struck first in their Eastern Conference Finals series with the Miami Heat and they'll go for a commanding lead tonight when the two sides meet for Game 2 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Watch the action unfold live on TSN and TSN GO at 8:30pm et/5:30pm pt.

The Pacers took Game 1, 107-96, Sunday afternoon in Indianapolis in a rematch of last year's East Finals.

The Pacers made six of their first seven shots from beyond the arc and shot 59.5 percent in the first half en route to a 55-45 cushion at the break. Indiana built its advantage up to as many as 19 in the third quarter and staved off every Heat push down the stretch in the wire-to-wire win.

For the game, Indiana shot 51.5 percent from the floor and 42 percent from long range.

"We played a pretty good basketball game. I think we can play better," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said after practice Monday. "I think we're going to need to play better because I think Miami is going to come back and play a more complete basketball game so we have to elevate our level."

The Heat lost only their second postseason game, but are staring in the face of something unprecedented. Since the Big Three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh descended upon South Beach, the Heat have never gone down 0-2 in a series.

"We had a couple of breakdowns. In the Eastern Conference Finals, you can't have that many breakdowns," James said after practice. "It wasn't a bad game at all. We scored 97 points, we got 54 points in the paint, we had 23 assists, only 11 turnovers. But we had some breakdowns defensively that allowed them to get some good shots."

Paul George led the way for the Pacers with 24 points and seven assists.

Indiana's entire starting five scored in double figures and it moved to 6-0 this postseason when Roy Hibbert scores 10-or-more points. He finished with 19 points and nine rebounds.

David West tallied 19 points and seven boards, Lance Stephenson posted 17 points, eight assists and four rebounds and George Hill added 15 points for the Pacers, who improved to 4-4 at home in the playoffs after going an NBA- best 35-6 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse during the regular season.

Wade netted 27 points, while James supplied 25 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and three steals for Miami. Chris Andersen finished with 14 off the bench and Ray Allen added 12.

Indiana raced out to a quick 7-0 start after Hill hit a quick 3-pointer and sunk a pair of free throws before Stephenson nailed a step-back jumper. The Pacers led 30-24 following a quarter of play. It was their first 30-point opening frame since Feb. 27.

James cut Indiana's gap to 50-45 following a pair of buckets, but the Pacers netted the final five points of the half.

The Pacers piled it on in the third.

George capped an 8-0 burst with a layup to extend the margin to 69-52 just before the midway point of the stanza. Two Hibbert free throws made it 81-62, but James' layup concluded an 8-0 Miami flurry to get the two-time defending champs within 81-70.

Wade's layup pulled Miami within 83-74 early in the fourth, but the Pacers responded with six straight and the Heat never got the deficit below double digits again.

"We played with a great energy," George said. "That's been an area where we lacked this postseason. Being consistent with our energy and urgency to start games off. I thought we brought that."

Indiana finished the season 7-9 and limped through the playoffs, at times looking brilliant, and other times, inconsistent.

Miami has looked generally brilliant during the playoffs, and despite never falling down 0-2, this incarnation of the Heat has won all four series in which they lost Game 1.

The home team in this matchup is on a nine-game winning streak.

Game 3 will be Saturday night in Miami.



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